The government’s commitment to cutting out rogue landlords – in force from the start of April – should go a long way to improving not only standards for renters as promised, but also encouraging greater investment from more ‘trustworthy’ landlords. Just this week, for example, came reports that a letting agent in north-west London is facing prosecution for cramming 40 or so people into a three-bedroom house. While it’s too soon to say how successful the crackdown will be in the long-term, the plan within the housing white paper is certainly a positive step forward and stories like this will help to raise its profile.
The Private Rented Sector, while not without its challenges, is a growing part of the housing mix – even more so given both the government and developers are still unable to build enough to meet demand. For this to be sustained, there needs to be a level playing field; fair competition is crucial to creating stability so that the focus can be truly forward-looking rather than on covering tracks.
With the additional powers given to local councils to tackle poor-quality homes in their area, the hope is also that it won’t result in a splintered approach or a post-code success rate. Collaboration with all those involved – from council level up to government – will be key to genuinely improving standards across the board and protecting tenants. It’s not a quick fix, but if there is co-operation and regulation ‘with teeth’, greater affordability and investment will follow.